“It will be difficult without Kim Min-jae”…Klinsmann ‘excited’ about new defenders, including ‘first choice’ Ahn Hyun-beom

(Xinhua News Agency, Kwon Dong-hwan) South Korea national soccer team coach Jürgen Klinsmann has expressed both disappointment and excitement for his defense, which will be without Kim Min-jae (Napoli).

The Korea Football Association (KFA) unveiled its 23-man call-up list ahead of the two matches in June at a press conference at the Jongno-gu Football Hall in Seoul on Friday.

The Korean national team, which is in the A-match period set by the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), will play a total of two exhibition matches during the month of June.

First, the team will face Peru at the Busan Asiad Stadium on June 16 at 8 p.m. before traveling to Daejeon to face El Salvador at the Daejeon World Cup Stadium at 8 p.m. on June 20.

As Klinsmann unveiled his roster, which is three less than the 26-man squad he named for the Colombia-Uruguay doubleheader in March, the changes in the defense are notable.

First, the core of the defense and one of the best defenders in Europe, Kim Min-jae (SSC Napoli), was left off the roster due to unavoidable reasons.

Kim, who won the Serie A title with Napoli, will report to the training camp on June 15, the day before the match against Peru, for three weeks of training as an artistic and athletic staff member.

Lee Ki-je (Suwon), Kwon Kyung-won (Gamba Osaka), and Kim Jin-soo (Jeonbuk) were called up by Klinsmann again after being named in March, while Kim Young-kwon, Kim Tae-hwan (Ulsan), Kim Moon-hwan (Jeonbuk), and Cho Yoo-min (Daejeon) were left off the roster due to injuries and inconsistent form.

In their place, Park Ji-soo (Portimonense), Kim Joo-seong (Seoul), Ahn Hyun-beom (Jeju), and Seol Young-woo (Ulsan) earned a passing grade from Klinsmann and earned the taegeuk mark.

Jeju right-back Ahn Hyun-beom, in particular, earned his first call-up to the national team and can now look forward to making his A-match debut.

“As a coach, there are times 안전놀이터 when unexpected situations and variables, such as injuries and Kim Min-jae’s military basic training, become a challenge,” Klinsmann said of the changes in the defense.

“My role is to make the best choices under the circumstances,” he said, adding that the changes to the national team’s backline are probably significant compared to March.

“I would like to see some consistency in the national team’s performance and keep the faith, but I think it will be difficult during the A-match in June,” he said.

Klinsmann acknowledged that this could be an opportunity for someone else. “Unexpected injuries or circumstances give other players a chance to make the team,” he said, “and hopefully some new players will come in and do well.”

“Obviously, the first day or two (after being called up), they’re going to be pretty nervous, but it’s my job as a coach to talk to them and make sure that they’re confident and that they’re performing to the best of their ability,” he said.

“I feel bad for the players who are not with us because of injuries and I hope they will be back as soon as possible, but we will focus on the players who are with us this time and try to prepare well so that we can play a good game.”

As for the new Taegeuk Warrior, Ahn Hyun-beom, he said, “I didn’t get to see the game, but I’ve been monitoring it, and I’m planning to go to the game on the 10th.”

Ahn’s team, Jeju, is scheduled to play the 18th round of the Hana One Q K League 1 2023 away match against league leader Ulsan Hyundai at Ulsan Munsoo Stadium at 6 p.m. on the 10th.

“Ahn Hyun-beom is a player who is very fast, very strong in one-on-ones, and very good at playing on the flanks,” Klinsmann said.

“It feels good as a coach to see a player like Lee Kang-in (Mallorca) who is active and aggressive in one-on-one situations on the flank,” he said, “and it will be good to see how much he shows these aspects when he is called up.”

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